I occasionally volunteer as a COVID-10 at the Salud Family Health Center in Commerce City, Colo. It’s a nice change of pace from my day “job” at the keyboard. I use the only complete sentence in my Spanish arsenal (besides “No hablo espanol”), Podría leer las siguientes y responder sí o no? and point to a couple of questions about various possible symptoms, possible contact with coronavirus-positive people in the last 10 days, and Covid tests taken in the last two weeks. I also open the door for folks and fetch the occasional wheelchair.

Salud is understaffed at the front…


Todd Neff and John Rubadeau in 1991 and 2018

There are many stories in my new book, A Beard Cut Short. This one is about how it came to be.

Quick summary: a blog post led to a book.

The blog post is here. I wrote it shortly after I learned that John Rubadeau, a former teacher of mine at the University of Michigan, a mentor, and a longtime friend, was fired on the grounds of undisclosed sexual-harassment allegations.

Into that blog post, I pasted the contents of the email I had written to University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel. Mine was one of 128 written in support of…


Todd Neff and John Rubadeau in 1991 and 2018

There are many stories in my new book, A Beard Cut Short. This one is about how it came to be.

Quick summary: a blog post led to a book.

The blog post is here. I wrote it shortly after I learned that John Rubadeau, a former teacher of mine at the University of Michigan, a mentor, and a longtime friend, was fired on the grounds of undisclosed sexual-harassment allegations.

Into that blog post, I pasted the contents of the email I had written to University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel. Mine was one of 128 written in support of…


Trump Administration policies would sink this Sanibel Island beachside palace sooner or later.

I’ve learned to ignore Trump 2020 signage and those who display them. It’ll drive you crazy otherwise.

More than 40 percent of the country will vote for a dangerous incompetent for reasons that make twisted sense (for the rich, low taxes and regulatory rollbacks; for the not-rich, abortion-opposing/religious-leaning conservative judges and a misguided notion that Trump would somehow stop black and brown people from overtaking “whites without college degrees” in the national hierarchy) and no sense at all (a vague belief in “keeping America great”; a conviction that Biden is a “socialist” who will somehow, despite the Second Amendment, take…


The scene at the Bimini Bait Shack on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The staff wore masks, at least.

I was reticent to travel to Florida from my adoptive home state of Colorado. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s laissez-faire lassitude toward the pandemic — to Floridians’ great detriment — a has been all too well-documented. But then I looked at the numbers.

They’re not bad. Let’s use yesterday — Saturday, Oct. 17 — as a baseline (I checked the numbers often before flying here; can’t remember which day).

Florida reported 4,044 cases on Oct. 17. Colorado reported 1,039 — close to the high-water mark for Colorado; far lower than the 15,394 Florida reported on July 12.

Adjusted for population, Colorado’s…


An electron microscope image from the first U.S. case of COVID-19. Those spherical viruses could well linger in the air. (courtesy CDC)

Sept. 18, 2020 addendum: In the three months since I posted this, the scientific evidence for aerosol transmission has become ironclad. See the story I did for UCHealth Today for tips on how to protect yourself and those you care about.

Just because it doesn’t look dirty doesn’t mean it’s clean.

That’s always been true, of course. But the coronavirus pandemic is reinforcing this lesson in unspeakably tragic ways. A gleaming doorknob could well be coated with millions of SARS-CoV-2 viruses — a thousand of which could line up across the breadth of a human hair.

That same truth holds…

Todd Neff

Todd Neff is a journalist and author of “A Beard Cut Short,“ “The Laser That’s Changing the World“ and “From Jars to the Stars.” More at toddneff.com.

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